Responsibilities of General Contractors
When most people think of general contractors they think of big, blue-collar workers repairing houses and businesses for people. This is not always the case. A general contractor, sub-contractor or project manager is in charge of the day-to-day supervision of a construction site, managing contracts and vendors, and communicating information to all involved parties during the course of a construction project. General contractors usually have some form of licensing as well, although some states do not require it, and some may not even require a business license at all. These professionals are very familiar with the process of bidding on projects and negotiating prices. It is their job to know the contractors that are willing to bid on the job and what the lowest price will be for a particular type of construction.
In addition to bidding on projects, a general contractor also needs to secure the proper permits before beginning any work. These include permits for demolition, foundation, plumbing, electrical, windows and doors, as well as other kinds of permits specific to the area where the construction is taking place. If a general contractor does not secure these permits before starting any construction, he could be in violation of local laws. For example, if a city requires a permit before changing the water line on a house or remodeling a kitchen in that city, the modeler would not be able to start work, as he would need to obtain the new permit. Other permits may be needed if the construction is to take place on a flood plain or within a nuclear facility. General contractors will usually know about the various permits that must be secured, but they are better informed if their clients have them.
A contractor cannot begin construction until he has obtained the proper licenses. These forms vary from state to state and can be extremely specific, covering everything from flooring to architectural plans. Each state will define which safety codes a general contractor must abide by, which may not include the types of licenses required. As construction projects move forward, general contractors should be kept apprised of changes in regulations or when changes are made to safety codes. Any such information should be made available to the public, through press releases and other means, so that general contractors can take the necessary steps to meet all legal requirements.
Every construction project has unique characteristics. It is up to the general contractor to identify those characteristics and to tailor his approach to those needs. The construction manager will likely be responsible for hiring the staff necessary to carry out the project’s specifications and goals. He will need to arrange for necessary payroll and benefits, to ensure that everyone on his crew is properly paid and that the budget will not be exceeded. He will be ultimately responsible for managing the schedule and completing the construction project on time.
All aspects of the project, from beginning to end, will be managed by the general contractor. There may be specific tasks assigned to individual members of the crew. The construction manager may include a number of sub-contractors who are responsible for a range of tasks, depending upon the scope of the project. A general contractor may be required to submit periodic reports detailing the progress of each phase of the project, as well as schedule and cost estimates for all phases. It is important for a general contractor to provide accurate information, in order to keep his client happy.
Some general contractor jobs may require the use of a plumbing subcontractor. When this is the case, it is necessary for the general contractor to include a list of items that the plumbing subcontractor is responsible for doing. This information should be easily accessible and made available to the public, via press releases and similar means. As with other contractors, it is the responsibility of the general contractor to make sure that subcontractors are following all applicable licensing and permitting laws. In most states, it is also the responsibility of the contractor to hire an engineering firm to inspect work being done by his sub-contractor.